Accent features and examples of an Estuary accent, which is one of the London accents.

What Is The Estuary Accent?

Estuary English, which is also called the Estuary English accent, is a widely spoken, modern accent. It sounds similar to the Standard British English accent, but with one important difference: when you hear the Estuary accent, you know that the speaker lives in London.

This Estuary accent at times sounds very close to the standard British accent, with only a trace of London pronunciation patterns such as the glottal stop. For other Estuary speakers, there is a stronger Cockney influence.

The word ‘estuary’ is a reference to the Thames Estuary, which is the area surrounding the river Thames. In practice, however, the Estuary accent is spoken more broadly in the South Eastern region of the UK.

Estuary English is: “Standard English spoken with the accent of the southeast of England”

John C. Wells professor emeritus at University College London

The Estuary English Accent is a Modern but ‘Sloppy’ English Accent

The Estuary accent is generally regarded as being a modern, approachable and informal accent. However, on the other hand, the glottal stops in the accent may create a sloppy impression of the speaker. This is because not pronouncing the /t/ in words is considered incorrect pronunciation by some people.

Pronunciation Features of an Estuary Accent

  • sing-song rhythm, but not as exaggerated as the Cockney accent
  • using lots of glottal stops
  • /h/ is usually pronounced in content words, e.g. ‘house’ is /haʊs/
  • /h/ might be dropped in function words like ‘have’, e.g. /æv/
  • The ‘th’ sound /θ/ may be replaced with /f/
  • The ‘th’ sound /ð/ may be replaced with /v/ or /d/
  • Fool / fall sound the same

Extend Your Learning

◼️ Watch my lesson on the glottal stop: “You Should Always Pronounce Your t’s”

◼️ Learn more about British accents by downloading my British Accent Pack


The Estuary accent is the accent that I grew up speaking because I am from London. However, I no longer speak with this accent because I trained myself to speak with a Standard Modern English accent. To train your accent with me, join my clear accent course. ▶︎ https://clearaccent.co.uk  ✔︎

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Professional English: 12 Words You Pronounce Incorrectly.

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Author

Jade Joddle grows your confidence and skill to shine when speaking English.

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